We love it when we are perusing what are normally quite boring or opaque documents about health IT and we suddenly stumble across a hidden gem, like the mention in a recent tender for ACT Health that there were file types in a clinical information system that “frankly seem made up”, or in a Hansard transcript of the Senate inquiry into the Medicare number breach in which the RACGP's Rob Hosking used the infamous cone of silence from TV show Get Smart as a metaphor for making security so tight that nothing works anymore.
We couldn't make that hearing last Friday but the transcript makes for interesting reading and Computerworld covered it nicely in two stories, including a report on Dr Hosking's Maxwell Smartism. Reading the Hansard, we must admit we were a bit bemused by one witness who seemed to be recommending that because the My Health Record and the Department of Human Service's HPOS system can't be made 150 per cent secure they should be decommissioned and we should all carry our health information around on a smart card like they do in Germany.
For a long time I have been concerned that the Australian Digital Health Agency (previously NEHTA) has been attempting to develop various solutions to a number of complex digital health problems which it does not seem to really understand, and as a consequence it is promoting an assortment of unsubstantiated ideas deficient in clarity, prudence and substance.
I read the recently released Digital Health Strategy and at the end of the 63 pages I asked myself: so what? What did I learn and expect to learn? How clear was I about where we were heading? About how and when we were going to get there? And would it make a difference?
In a bit of late breaking news today we hear that Auckland-based secure messaging provider HealthLink has been acquired by Irish firm Clanwilliam Group, which is building itself a nice little portfolio of medical software vendors serving parts of the world with reasonably similar primary care sectors, namely Ireland, the UK, New Zealand and Australia.
The Irish government has for over 20 years supported both the IT and the pharmaceutical industries with seriously valuable tax breaks in order to attract investment into the country, but it also seems to have encouraged a thriving local industry that is producing some quality health IT firms that are now not only exporting technology but are setting up shop down our way.